Montana Searches for Stream Access Solutions

January 19, 2007 By: Marshall Cutchin

State legislator Lane Larson of Billings, Montana, like many other Montanans who are used to enjoying the state’s stream access rules, which allow entry from any public land, including bridge entrances, is fed up with ranch owners bucking the law and fencing out anglers. The details are still being negotiated, but Larson’s new bill would guarantee an arbitration process in access disputes, something long overdue. And of course already some ranchers are threatening litigation. Still, you won’t find many anglers or hunters in Montana feeling sympathetic to private landowners who don’t want to give outdoors enthusiasts their due. “Jack D. Jones of Bozeman told members of the Senate Fish and Game Committee that the days of handshake agreements between ranchers and anglers for access to streams are long gone. ‘The influx of wealthy, out-of-state, part-time Montanans arriving with the idea that our wildlife belongs to them” has changed that, he said.'” Gwen Florio in The Great Falls Tribune.